Posted in Computer games, Dating simulators

Stardew Valley Vibe Check: Judging the romance options

Thanks to some very convincing friends, I am currently obsessed with Stardew Valley.

Stardew Valley is an American farming simulator influenced heavily by Harvest Moon, a popular Japanese farming sim that I grew up playing.

Players can grow crops, raise animals, explore caves, make friends, and – most importantly – romance one of twelve marriage candidates.

No joke, the bevy of romance storylines was my main motivation for downloading Stardew.

I wanted to weigh in on all of the romance options.

These are my current impressions of the Stardew suitors.

Haley

8-bit shoulders-up rendering of Haley from Stardew Valley: a blonde, blue-eyed woman wearing a blue dress

Probably listens to: Kacey Musgraves

You know I love an Alpha Bitch.

I love the way they take up space and say what they mean at all times.

Often, these characters reveal a softer side, perhaps a strong moral compass or a surprising sense of humor.

Haley, sadly, has the meanness down with little else to recommend her.

I’m up to three hearts with Haley and she’s still down on my clothes and general being.

She hates everything about Pelican Town, which is her right.

I suspect, though, that I could never make her happy.

Ugh, and she won’t do chores??

THE ENTITLEMENT!

(Note: one gaming article hints that Haley’s arc is emotionally rewarding. Maybe I’ll romance her one of these days.)

Harvey

8-bit shoulders-up rendering of Harvey from Stardew Valley: a brunette man with glasses, a moustache, a green jacket, and a tie

Probably listens to: John Denver

I’ve known a lot of awkward nerds in my time and boy howdy, are they hard to romance.

Harvey’s go-to small talk subjects are:

  • proper hygiene
  • his struggling finances

When given a gift he doesn’t like, Harvey claims to be allergic.

HARVEY, COULD YOU BE ANY MORE OF A STEREOTYPE?

Harvey’s compassion, however, won me over. He treats his patients’ mental health and physical wellbeing while respecting their autonomy. He also considers going vegetarian after interacting with pigs at the Stardew Valley Fair. Says Harvey, “I need to do some soul-searching…”

He’s kind and that’s rare.

Harvey deserves all the flowers.

Abigail

8-bit shoulders-up rendering of Abigail from Stardew Valley: a woman with purple hair and blue eyes wearing a blue vest

Probably listens to: My Chemical Romance

I predicted, before I started the game, that Abigail would be among my favorite characters.

I mean…purple-haired goth?? Mal from Descendants come to life?? Sign me up!

Turns out Abigail and I have nothing in common.

I’m a practical homebody with a need to be productive.

She’s an adventurous type who loves video games, heroism, and playing the drums.

We are not on the same wavelength.

I feel like, if we dated, we’d always be competing for Pluckiest Partner.

Let’s be real: I’m quirky enough for the both of us.

Elliott

8-bit shoulders-up rendering of Elliott from Stardew Valley: side view of a man with long reddish hair, blue eyes, heavy brows, and a red jacket

Probably listens to: Hozier

Of the available men, Elliot is the one I was most attracted to right off the bat.

He’s got great hair, a great name, and a cabin on the beach.

Also, he’s a writer.

DING DING DING DING. Check all my boxes, why don’t you?

The reality of Elliott is so disappointing.

I mean, he seems nice enough.

Instead of an intense creative type, however, this man is a walking monocle.

He’s all waistcoats and, “Oh, I say!” and, “Oh dear, I found sand in my cravat!”

I NEVER see Elliott writing, yet I hear him talk CONSTANTLY about how much he writes.

Dude reminds me of the English majors I knew in college.

Hard pass.

Maru

8-bit shoulders-up rendering of Maru from Stardew Valley: a woman with a red bob and red glasses, wearing overalls over a purple shirt

Probably listens to: Sammus

I’ve never been into STEM and I have a hard time connecting with people who are.

Like, I’d rather talk about sports; that’s how little I care about science and technology.

Maru is all about the scientific method, volunteering at the hospital, and building robots in her room.

She seems way too logical and wholesome for me.

She also…seems young??

Her dad warned me not to mess up her bright future, so I HAVE QUESTIONS.

Sebastian

8-bit shoulders-up rendering of Sebastian from Stardew Valley: a man with a purple undercut and a purple sweatshirt

Probably listens to: AFI

Man, I’m not too sure about Sebastian.

He is tip-to-toe exactly like the guys I grew up with.

Every time I see him, he’s on his juul.

He only reads fantasy novels.

He lives in his parents’ basement.

Of course people with these traits can be perfectly nice.

I’m just worried he’ll start mansplaining anime to me and I’m not about that life.

Emily

8-bit shoulders-up rendering of Emily from Stardew Valley: a woman with short blue hair and a red top

Probably listens to: Misterwives

I somehow walked into Emily’s dreamscape and have been avoiding her ever since.

First of all, how in the HELL?

Second, perkiness is not a personality trait I can tolerate.

Keep your peace and love, thanks.

Alex

8-bit shoulders-up side view rendering of Alex from Stardew Valley: a man with spiky brown hair, heavy brows, and a green jacket

Probably listens to: Jason Rantz

Absolutely not, he threw a football at me.

Allegedly, Alex is nicer to male farmers.

Cute! We love a chauvinist!

Penny

Probably listens to: Claude Debussy

I’ve talked numerous shy people into dating me and/or being my friend.

I’m pretty tired of it, especially when the shy person in question says things like, “lol, i’m too awkward, message me first.”

Girl, I’ve been masking my entire life. You gotta meet me halfway.

Anyway, Penny can’t talk about much other than the weather, so I was ready to dismiss her right away.

Turns out Penny has a secret sadness that I haven’t yet gotten her to talk about.

She’s also protective of her students and kind to her neighbors.

That said…okay, she once pushed George’s wheelchair out of the way to “help” him get his mail.

That wasn’t the most respectful move on her part.

Sam

8-bit shoulders-up rendering of Sam from Stardew Valley: a man with blonde anime hair, dark eyes, and a denim jacket

Probably listens to: We.B

Sam seems like the type of guy I’m supposed to be attracted to.

I’m not really into blondes, pretty boys, or musicians.

Whoops.

I recently happened upon Sam trying to do a kickflip.

Sir, I lived through the 2000s. I can’t do this.

Leah

8-bit shoulders-up rendering of Leah from Stardew Valley: a side view of a woman with a red bread, green shirt, and brown vest

Probably listens to: Brandi Carlile

Okay, so:

Leah is a redheaded artist who lives in a cabin in the woods.

Though she lives alone, Leah doesn’t isolate herself; she regularly interacts with townspeople and shows up at the tavern on Friday nights.

As an added bonus: I’ve ACTUALLY SEEN Leah working on her art.

Leah is my dream girl.

Shane

8-bit shoulders-up rendering of Shane from Stardew Valley: a man with side-swept purple hair, dark eyes, and a blue sweatshirt over a green polo

Probably listens to: Linkin Park

(CW: alcoholism, depression)

Shane hates everything and everyone. He’s living at his aunt’s house, working a dead-end job, and drinking just to get through the day.

The dude subsists on pizza and beer.

He doesn’t have a plan for his future and honestly doesn’t see the point most days.

Shane is basically me.

Depression is fun like that.

I’ve been playing Shane’s romance arc and it’s been really rewarding to watch him ask for help, turn his life around, and start being open about his passions.

I want nothing but the best for this man.

I will forever be enamored with Shane’s love for chickens. He’s a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and you KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT THOSE.

I’m on my first-ever Stardew playthrough.

These are my initial impressions of the romance options and are likely to change.

Maybe I’ll even romance Alex one day.

(lol, no.)

Author:

Lover of cheese and performative angst. I love to call out, complain, overreact, analyze, and reimagine. This site contains the fruit of that labor.

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